When I decided to pursue freelance writing as a career, I knew I needed an additional source of income. Or a winning lottery ticket.
A job seemed like the better bet.
I applied to work at Starbucks because I had heard it’s an ideal place for a part-time gig. I could receive many of the same benefits as my friends who had full-time jobs, but I would only be working 25 to 30 hours per week!
The Hidden Perks of Working at Starbucks
Starbucks is known for treating its partners well. (“Partners” is what Starbucks calls its employees.)
Chances are, you’ve heard the company offers its partners retirement plans and fully covered tuition to Arizona State University’s online program for eligible full- and part-time U.S. partners.
But after a few months, I began to realize that most partners at my store weren’t taking advantage of all the benefits Starbucks offered us — myself included. We either didn’t know about the perks or didn’t understand them.
I decided to do some research, and it really paid off. Who knew working at Starbucks would help me listen to music for free? Or join a fancy gym for a fraction of the price?
If you are a Starbucks partner, here are a few money-savers you may not know you have at your fingertips.
1. Free Spotify Premium
My friends and family all know I’m cheap. Well, let’s say “frugal.” That sounds nicer.
While planning my wedding, I was determined to find an alternative to paying hundreds of dollars for a DJ. I figured I would just get Spotify Premium so I could play all my music without dealing with ads or the tunes being on shuffle.
Then I realized I was too… ahem… frugal, to pay $9.99 per month for Spotify Premium.
Thankfully, a co-worker told me Spotify and Starbucks have a deal that gives partners free Spotify Premium. I signed up. (And, in case you were wondering, my wedding reception was the bomb.)
2. Free Coffee and Tea
It’s no surprise that another Starbucks benefit is free coffee.
Starbucks partners get a free pound of coffee or box of tea every week. It’s easy to take this perk for granted, but a bag of coffee isn’t cheap.
My first few weeks of working, I didn’t take advantage of this benefit. My now-husband also worked at Starbucks, so I didn’t see the need for both of us to get a pound of coffee every week. I mean, I’m a coffee addict, but that’s a lot of coffee!
However, to those partners who don’t see the need to use the full amount every week, I fully encourage you to start. Did you know there are countless uses for your free bags of coffee? One of my co-workers volunteered with military personnel and took her free coffee to them every week. My husband gave his groomsmen bags of coffee as thank-you gifts.
3. A Jolt for Your 401(k)
Please don’t skip this section because you think planning for retirement is boring and too complicated to understand. I’m amazed by how many employees don’t take advantage of this benefit.
Many partners don’t know that Starbucks matches 100% of their 401(k) contributions, typically up to 4 to 6% of the employee’s salary. The company’s Board of Directors decides each November what the following year’s rate will be.
That’s free money that is growing on its own thanks to compound interest. I never missed it because I never touched it, and the government won’t tax me on it until I withdraw it.
Set up your 401(k) plan online, and it kicks in after 90 days on the job.
4. Gym Membership Discounts
This benefit is bittersweet: Sweet because everyone loves deals. Bitter because you are about to lose your excuse to skip going to the gym.
Starbucks has partnerships with gyms that are always trying to attract new customers. For example, Starbucks has partnerships with GlobalFit, Gold’s Gym and Curves.
Discounted gym memberships just for being a Starbucks employee? That’s an advantage I never expected!
Now you have a way to burn off all those free pumpkin spice lattes you drink on the job.
5. Starbucks Partner Discounts Emails
In case you haven’t noticed, Starbucks provides employees a lot of goodies. They’re hard to keep track of, and new deals are always popping up.
Guess what? You don’t have to miss out on any of them.
I signed up for weekly emails from Starbucks. Once a week, I received an email about new discounts with companies ranging from AMC Theatres to Dell to Restaurant.com. It was the most foolproof way to make sure I didn’t miss an opportunity to save a little money.
As soon as your manager assigns you an ID number, you can sign up for these emails.
Laura Grace Tarpley is a freelance writer who is always looking for ways to save money.